The last black heavyweight champion was Shannon Briggs who lost his WBO title in June of 2007 and it’s been 7 years since a black boxer held the heavyweight title until Bermane “B. WARE” Stiverne won the vacant WBC title in May of 2014 defeating Chris Arreola that Vitali Klitschko vacated. Stiverne is a Haitian who fought in the amateurs out of Canada and lives in the US along with being promoted by Don King. Until Vitali retired he and his brother Wladimir had held the 4 organization title belts of the WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO.
When Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion back in December of 2008 a cry from his followers asked “who will be the next white hope?” Even though white champions such as Jess Willard who defeated Johnson (April 1915) and was followed by Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Max Baer, Primo Carnera, Jack Sharkey, Max Schemling and James Braddock once again when Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis won the title in June of 1937 (until Sept 1950) over Braddock again the “white hope” came up until Rocky Marciano defeated “Jersey” Joe Walcott in September of 1952.
Marciano would retire at 49-0 in September of 1955 after defeating Light heavyweight champion Archie Moore who would later fight Floyd Patterson for the vacant title in November of 1956 with Patterson gaining the win. When Ingemar Johansson won the title in June of 1960 it was Marciano who went to Italy in secret training to “win the title back for the US” but unlike James Jeffries who after 6 years of inactivity was forced to fight Johnson Marciano realized he didn’t have it anymore and wisely didn’t come back. In the meantime Patterson won back the title for “the US”.
Once Muhammad Ali won the title over Sonny Liston in February of 1964 again “the white Hope” came back into the news but nothing like when the eventual champion was Larry Holmes fighting Gerry Cooney! Holmes made it loud and clear about Cooney being the “White Hope”!
In June of 1999 Vitali Klitschko won the WBO title from Herbie Hide. He lost it to Chris Byrd in April of 2000. In June of 2003 he challenged WBC champion Lennox Lewis and was winning when a severe cut lost him the fight. Lewis refused a rematch and retired. In April of 2004 Vitali won the vacant WBC title over RSC’s Corrie Sanders and defended it the last time in September of 2012. He was forced to give it up when running for mayor of Kiev, UKR, which he won in May of 2014. His brother Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko won the WBO title in October of 2000 and losing it in March of 2003 to Sanders of South Africa. Sanders didn’t defend the WBO title but fought Vitali in his next fight for the vacant WBC title and lost.
Vitali held the WBC title for 8 ½ years while Wladimir who won the IBF title from Byrd in 2006. He would then win the WBO title in February of 2008 from then champion Sultan Ibragimov. In November of 2009 David Haye won the WBA title from Nikolay Valuev and lost it to Wladimir in July of 2011.
Wladimir has made 21 title defenses so far and Vitali had 13 defenses. Wladimir and his fiancée just celebrated a new baby and expect to get married this year. He wants that fourth title and as long as Don King promotes Stirvine it’s “wait and see!” The WBC insists Deontay Wilder be next for Stirvine but King know’s a Klitschko fight in Germany would bring a bigger pay day for his fighter yet said Stirvine doesn’t have to fight Wilder or Klitschko next.
Klitschko is scheduled to fight September 6th and the IBF insists he fight Kubrat Pulev who is his No. 1 contender. On July 26th the WBO’s No. 1 contender Dereck Chisora and No. 4 Tyson Fury fight for the vacant European and British titles. Chisora lost to Vitali by a lopsided decision in 2012. At 38 its doubtful Wladimir will fight into his 40’s. It’s been said the only way the Klitschko’s won’t control the heavyweight division is if they retire and that seems to be the case!